scorecardReport: Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium has actually grown, despite the nuclear deal
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Report: Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium has actually grown, despite the nuclear deal

Report: Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium has actually grown, despite the nuclear deal
DefenseDefense3 min read

iran nuclear reactor

Reuters/Reuters Photographer

An Iranian woman stands behind a model of a nuclear reactor at the nuclear plant in the southwestern Iranian city of Bushehr.

Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium has increased in the past three months even though Tehran is supposed to reduce it significantly under a deal with major powers, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) determined in a confidential report Reuters saw on Wednesday afternoon.

Iran has also started to dismantle uranium enrichment centrifuges at its Natanz and Fordow nuclear facilities, the IAEA report states. Under the deal with major powers reached in July, Iran is supposed to reduce the number of centrifuges it has in operation.

Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed between Iran and a US-led group of six countries in July of 2015, Iran must reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to 300 kilograms in order for the nuclear agreement to fully go into effect - a total that does not count uranium contained in fuel rods for the country's nuclear reactor. According to an August IAEA report, Iran has 7,845 kilograms of low-enriched uranium.

The Reuters report comes just a month after Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appeared to unilaterally alter the timeline for Iran meeting its obligations under the JCPOA.

On October 21st, Khamenei, who is the country's highest political and spiritual authority under Iran's theocratic system of government, announced that Iran would not begin exporting its enriched uranium in order to reach the 300 kilogram limit until the IAEA had completed its investigation of Iran's past nuclear weaponization work, an inquiry that won't officially end until the agency issues a report in December.

Additionally, Khamenei announced that export wouldn't begin until "a reliable firm contract for it and adequate guarantees for its execution is signed."

Iran Supreme Leader Ayataollah Ali Khamenei Tehran file photo air force commanders

AP/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader

In this photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian Supreme Leader, Iranian air force commanders and officers salute Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the start of their meeting in Tehran on February 8, 2015.

An increase in Iran's stockpile even after the signing of the JCPOA might show that Khamenei's conditions for the JCPOA - which allow Iran to determine the timeline and arrangements for the scale-down of its enriched uranium stock - are being implemented. The JCPOA won't officially be implemented until Iran scales its stockpile down 300 kilograms and makes various modifications to its nuclear infrasturcture.

The growth of Iran's uranium stock wouldn't be the only recent piece of mixed news for the JCPOA. On October 11th, Iranian state media announced that the country had tested a new model of the Emad missile, a mid-range ballistic missile with the ability to deliver a nuclear warhead. The test violated a UN resolution that will be repealed once the JCPOA officially goes into effect.

Iran also released five high-value al Qaeda prisoners in September, including the interim head of the global terrorist network following the May 2011 death of Osama bin Laden. Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, a US-Iranian dual citizen, was convicted of espionage by a secret court in October, while Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi was arrested in Tehran in mid-October.